Writing great articles is not a skill you can learn overnight. It may not be something you are born with, but it is definitely something you can master by putting in the hard work.
It takes writers years to hone their craft, and even then, they cannot achieve perfection. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say there is no such thing as perfect writing.
Everyone has a unique way of expressing their thoughts and beliefs. What matters is how their words resonate with others.
A good article can educate people about a new idea, whereas a great article can change minds and encourage people to take action. Whether it is something as simple as clicking on a link and making a purchase or something as complex as adopting a new lifestyle, powerful writing carries a lot of weight and is worthy of respect.
If you are looking to improve your article writing skills, learning these rules can be a valuable addition to your arsenal.
Rule 1: Know Your Target Audience
Before you put pen to paper – figuratively, of course – you should ask yourself who you’re writing for.
Now, most people will say they write for themselves. This is often the correct answer because we’re our own biggest critics. Nevertheless, whether you are writing an article for affiliate marketing or working on a magazine article, the first thing you need to do is determine your audience.
If you write for a pharmaceutical company or a law firm, you must already have a clear idea of who will be reading your copy. However, if you are an employee at a content marketing firm or work as a freelancer, you may have to do a little research to create a reader profile.
It will help you understand their interests and motivation to click on your post.
You can start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Who will read this article?
- Why would they read this article?
- What will this article do for them?
Once you have found the answer to these queries, you can get a step closer to writing great articles.
Try and learn about the factors that may excite your readers and the things that may not sit well with them. Doing so will help you figure out how you can get your audience to see your point of view or buy what you’re selling.
However, if you want to grow as a writer, don’t limit yourself to an ideal audience. Think about other people who may find your article exciting or may connect with it on an emotional level.
Rule 2: Research, Research, Research
It is always a good idea to write on topics you are passionate about. Be it your love for abstract art or your interest in marine biology, try writing about things that bring you joy.
Alternatively, if you have a strong but unfavorable opinion about something, your personal feelings will undoubtedly add some substance to your writing – as long as you don’t make your post sound too biased.
However, no matter how much you know about a particular idea, make sure to conduct in-depth research before creating an outline for your piece. Read as much as you can. Learn about the history and background of the topic and how others around the world may have perceived it.
Many writers allot a specific time frame for their research. In theory, it may work. But depending on what you’re writing and who you’re writing for, it may not be a good idea to limit your research process to a few minutes. In addition, don’t cut any corners.
Poor research is among the leading reasons most articles fall flat. On the other hand, good research helps us build our knowledge and facilitates learning. It also makes us more confident in our writing while nourishing our minds.
Your research can make or break the article. If you want your words to make an impact, back up your arguments with facts and figures.
Rule 3: Grab the Reader’s Interest
Once a person clicks on your article, you merely have seconds to make an impression.
Since your title is the first thing a reader sees after opening your post, you must take extra care to make it compelling and interesting. Ideally, your main heading should convey what your article is about without divulging too much.
Well, your title should be an accurate representation of what the reader will find in the content body. However, it should also create an aura of mystique without being misleading.
The next thing you should write a short and concise introductory paragraph to draw in your readers. A large chunk of text right at the beginning of an article may distract the reader. Worst case scenario, it may even stop them from reading any further.
Therefore, it is pertinent to keep your opening short and attention-grabbing. It doesn’t have to be something extraordinary. But it should at least capture the interest of your audience and encourage them to read what you have to say.
Consider keeping your intro limited to two or three short sentences. It can even be a one-liner, depending on how well you can craft it. If your words are easy to scan and provide value, there is a good chance your reader will also make an effort to explore the article.
Rule 4: Make Your Article Visually Appealing
One of the most significant rules of writing great articles is making them visually appealing.
You can create an element of interest by adding stunning photos and informative videos to your content. Moreover, try to incorporate well-explained charts and intriguing infographics wherever you can in your post. Also, if you come across a graphic that is relevant to your article but seems complex, consider taking some time to explain it to your audience patiently.
You can also create customized images to make your piece look more professional. It will also help break up the bulky wall of text. Most brands invest extensively to procure graphic designers to develop valuable marketing content.
Another way to make your article more attractive is by writing shorter paragraphs. Negative space in between the short paragraphs can help break the visual clutter. It allows your audience to read and digest each point before moving on to the next one.
Here are some more ways you can make your pieces more reader-friendly.
- Cascading subheadings
- Bold and italicized words
- Bullet points
These factors will breathe a new life into your articles and motivate your readers to spend more time on them. Also, once you are done with writing articles, don’t forget to edit and proofread them.
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Rule 5: Add Substance to Your Articles
How many times have you found an article on your newsfeed that had a fantastic title but didn’t have any substance?
Unfortunately, it happens a lot.
These click-bait articles are usually packaged as something worthwhile. However, they rarely tell you anything new or valuable. Although these posts manage to fulfil their target by getting more clicks, they leave the readers frustrated and unsatisfied – which is the exact opposite of what you should aim for.
After all, one of the most important rulesforwriting great articles is never to leave the reader dissatisfied or craving more.
If you want to improve your article writing skills, aim to add value to your words. It should provide new information or a fresh perspective by viewing the topic from a unique angle. Instead of barely scratching the surface, take a deep dive into the subject and look for ideas that require a detailed and nuanced discussion.
Your content should solve problems and present solutions. It should connect with people on a deeper level and stimulate their imagination. Creating value-added content will encourage your readers to visit your piece over and over again. Meanwhile, a shallow article may stop them from ever making that effort again.
Moreover, if you have a strong opinion, don’t be afraid to share it with the world. However, please keep yourself open to criticism and be gracious with the feedback you receive. After all, your readers have a right to agree or disagree with your words.
Rule 6: Don’t Water Down Your Words
Want to write with conviction? Don’t let your fears hold you back.
More often than not, the fear of judgment and criticism refrain writers from reaching their full potential. It is easy to develop a mindset where you don’t want to displease your editor or write something that your audience may not fully agree with.
As a result, you start using soft language and adopt a pacifying tone. In some instances, it might work in your favor. However, in most cases, it makes your writing look watered down and ineffective. Your message may even get lost in translation if you spend too much energy on creating a perfect post that keeps everyone happy.
Therefore, the next time you write an article and have the nagging fear of “what if they don’t like it,” please immediately push aside those negative thoughts. While it is essential to make sure your words don’t spread misinformation, you must not let the fear of disagreement hold you captive.
If you believe in a specific cause or an idea, write about it without entertaining any second thoughts. You can’t please everyone. It would help if you accepted that there would be times when your message will not resonate with the readers, and that’s completely fine.
Receiving a negative comment or a harsh criticism may put you in a bad mood for a few hours. But don’t let it stop you from writing articles that can add value.
Summing Up the Rules for Writing Great Articles
Writers never stop learning and growing. Hence there is no set formula that will enable you to produce brilliant content.
Nevertheless, a few important rules of writing articles can set you on a path to success and help you create content that will stand the test of time. The rules include learning about your target audience, conducting in-depth research, and reeling in the reader with your compelling headline.
Moreover, your article must have bullet points, images, graphics, and other visual elements to increase reader engagement. You can also add substance to your articles by asking the right questions and providing the readers with the correct answers. In addition, make sure you write with conviction and never water down your words due to fear of criticism.
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